Leaders lead–nothing new about that statement. But there’s an element of leadership that implies leading into new, uncharted territory. That uncharted territory is where we see the greatest breakthroughs as well as some of the biggest failures. Everybody wants the glorious victory . . . it’s the possibility of failure that keeps us in our safe zone.
Several years ago I read Andy Stanley, Lane Jones, and Reggie Joiner’s book, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. I recently picked it up again and was reminded of a powerful statement that drives the idea of entrepreneurial leadership. The authors write, “Most churches now being built are patterned after churches that already exist.” That statement is unsettling. Think about it for moment. Do you understand its implications?
If leaders are doing nothing more than leading people toward already proven models, then where’s the creativity, the innovation, the entrepreneurial faith, and the risk-taking necessary to reach people that otherwise won’t be reached? It’s not that we shouldn’t look to other effective models for inspiration and ideas. I’ve researched plenty and there truly are some great approaches to local church ministry that are making a significant impact for the Kingdom. We should do everything we can to learn from these models. But if we’re not careful, we’ll become so focused on carbon-copy ministry, that we’ll lose the courage to step into the unknown.
What about you? Are you leading your ministry or organization toward proven patterns or are you pioneering new territory? New territory is always accompanied by fear. It isn’t always safe. I’m not suggesting you make unwise decisions or walk blindly into the future. Jim Collins urges leaders to fire bullets then cannonballs as a proven and practical way to innovate.
Question: Is it always bad for your leadership to be a carbon-copy? What can leaders do to innovate for the future without always being a copy of somebody else’s leadership?
Stephen Blandino is the Executive Pastor of Christ Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. He's a blogger, coach, and author and holds a Master's in Organizational Leadership.
CC Image • Chris Campbell on Flickr